Alternative Dispute Resolution in Trial and Appellate Courts
This study, reprinted from Handbook of Psychology and Law (D.K. Kagehiro and W.S. Laufer, eds.) reviews the available research on seven major court-administered alternative dispute resolution (ADR) procedures that appear to be particularly popular and representative of the broader range of alternatives: fee-shifting rules, small-claims mediation, victim-offender mediation, judicially mediated plea bargaining, judicial settlement conferences, court-annexed arbitration, and summary jury trials. The authors discuss potential consequences of ADR in the courts, including reductions in costs and delays, litigant satisfaction and procedural fairness, a sense of legitimacy and acceptance of ADR outcomes and preservation and enhancement of existing relationships. A growing body of research and theory can guide the design of future ADR procedures. The next round of innovation should take advantage of what is now known to optimize all the the criteria that ADR programs seek to meet. Basic social-psychological laboratory experiments on dispute processing can also play an important role in informing the conduct of applied field research on ARD programs.